Public weighs in on development moratorium - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Public weighs in on Brandon development moratorium

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BRANDON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

For nearly three months there will be no new construction in downtown Brandon and businesses won't be allowed to make any exterior changes -- but city officials say it will all pay off with a new look for the business district.

A makeover is in store for downtown area, but in the meantime a temporary moratorium is in place that prohibits new construction and new signage for those businesses.

Monday a public hearing was held during the regular board of alderman meeting to get input from residents.

Officials first discussed a year-long moratorium but that brought opposition.

Some had concerns about the zoning, future plans, and how the moratorium will affect their ability to do business or lease space in their buildings.

"I want to do my part and everything, but I just want to be kept abreast of what kind of money I'm looking at when the time comes as a property owner and do we have any grant money available," asked Brandon business owner Don Magee.

"We have in this area somewhere I think eight eateries and seven service stations in this area right now. It seems like we need a moratorium on service stations and eateries. But the R-4 property being in C-1 concerns us," said business owner Larry Quillen.

"I don't want to turn businesses away. It's a competitive marketplace out here and if we don't get it I don't need to say the rest. Other cities will welcome them with open arms," said business owner Dennis Chandler.

The proposed area will be along the Highway 80 corridor from Exit 56 to Louis Wilson Drive.

Mayor Butch Lee said it is not a moratorium on new business but an opportunity to have a consistent look in the historic downtown area.

"We want to work toward redeveloping that area so it's a beautiful place. You've got other communities in central Mississippi that are trying to develop that like Ridgeland. They're trying to build a downtown area. We already have one we just need to redevelop it," said Mayor Lee.

Officials are envisioning sidewalks, vegetation, more parking, shops and advancing foot traffic.

The Board of Aldermen voted to allow the moratorium to remain in effect until Oct. 31.

A Community Design Charrette will be held Sept. 24 at First United Methodist Church.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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